3 questions for …
Catharina Mertens, Consulting & Sales ROAD at the Wirtgen Group subsidiary in Windhagen
Can you remember what it was like the first time you had dealings with customers as a member of the sales staff at the Wirtgen Group?
Well, for one thing, I wasn’t unprepared. I was already familiar with sales matters from my back office work, and I had worked very hard on preparing myself for my new job. I visited sites with our service technicians and learned a lot from colleagues on the production lines at our brands’ headquarters. After all this, I met up with customers on their construction sites and, for example, after learning on the machine, even got to operate Vögele screeds. I also accompanied my predecessor on sales trips, and learned the “tricks of the trade” – and the kinds of challenges we sometimes face with customers. So the best prerequisites for the job were already in place when I took over.
How have the relationships with your customers developed since then?
On the whole, very positively. Thanks to my background, customers very soon recognise that I know what I‘m talking about. And this has led to more and more contractors and their teams placing their trust in me and the Wirtgen Group. I’m also very pleased to see that they want to talk to me about the services we offer, and not just about new machines. I’m always happy when I know that I’ve helped my customers and made a contribution to their success.
What do you need to be successful in a job like yours?
One thing above all – you should never be afraid of the complexities of the industry you are working in. It’s then no problem at all to earn the respect of the people you encounter along the way – and directly experience it. And another thing, if you can’t stand the constant heat, cold, dust or dirt, the job is definitely not for you. At the Wirtgen Group, our maxim is ‘Close to our customers’, and we live by this principle, every day. In whatever conditions the weather gods can throw at us on construction sites, not only in air-conditioned offices.